The last time Cameron Crowe directed a movie, it was 2005's 'Elizabethtown,' a bust that was panned by critics and audiences with equal fervor. Would things have been different if Ashton Kutcher was the star instead of Orlando Bloom? Probably not, but that didn't stop Crowe from first courting the '70's Show' star for the role, only to fire him later on. In this week's issue of The Hollywood Reporter, the director admitted to being frustrated with Kutcher after casting him, eventually replacing him with someone else.

When he cast Ashton Kutcher in Elizabethtown. Kutcher was then still part of 'That 70's Show,' and Crowe told him he had to set aside a few weeks to focus only on the film. But sources involved with the project say Kutcher didn't heed Crowe's words. Although he promised he would deliver when the cameras were rolling, Crowe lost faith... "I'll spend months working with an actor, and I think I spent four months with Ashton," Crowe says. "At a certain point, it's like, 'This is not meant to be.'"

Oof, poor Ashton isn't having the best week, is he? Crowe also spoke to THR about his upcoming film, 'We Bought a Zoo,' and how he wooed -- and, unlike Kutcher, stuck with -- Matt Damon for the lead. It started when Crowe first visited the set of 'True Grit,' where he gave Damon a mix CD (of course) and a copy of the 1983 movie 'Local Hero,' which had a plot similar to 'Zoo.' Damon was initially hesitant about signing onto a film that could turn into a Disney version of the book it was based on (written by Benjamin Mee), but Crowe didn't want to make a project like that either. According to the actor, "Crowe said: 'I know what you're going to be afraid of; the bad version of this movie is really a movie you don't want to be in. That's what I'm afraid of too." Then, after listening to Crowe's mix CD, Damon eventually had a change of heart.

You can read more about the making of 'We Bought a Zoo,' a track-by-track listing of the CD Crowe gave Damon and the canned Marvin Gaye biopic starring Will Smith (not sure what to think about that) that the director tried to make, over on THR.

'We Bought a Zoo' hits theaters on December 23, 2011.

[via THR]

[Photo: WireImage]

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We Bought a Zoo
PG 2011
Based on 40 critics

Looking for a fresh start, a single father (Matt Damon) moves his family to a dilapidated zoo. Read More

categories Movies